Festive sombrero piñatas make colourful decorations as well as a fun fiesta or party activity. Most people associate piñatas with Mexican culture however, the first piñatas trace back to China, not Mexico. When the Spanish came to Mexico from Europe, they introduced the piñata to the Mexican people. Making piñatas need not be a difficult or extraordinarily messy endeavour, even though paper mache is involved. Making a paper mache piñata just once will show you the ease and fun of creating your own piñata. Piñatas create a festive atmosphere. Their size and colour lend much to your party decorations.
Mix paper mache paste in large bowl. Use three parts water to one part flour. For this project, six cups water and two cups flour make enough paper mache mixture to cover the sombrero. Mix until the consistency of pancake batter.
Use the large pieces of newspaper to cut out two circles approximately 2 feet in diameter. Brush an extremely thin layer of paper mache onto one of the circles, and then place the other circle on top of it. You want the paper mache to be just enough to stick the two pieces together, but not enough to make the paper soggy. This becomes the brim of the sombrero and bottom of the piñata.
Blow up the balloon as large as it will go without bursting. Tie it off. Use the masking tape to secure the balloon in the middle of the circle with the tied end pointing up. This becomes the top of the sombrero. Place a couple of rolled pieces of tape in the centre of the circle first and stick the balloon on the tape to hold it in place while you add more pieces of tape stretching from the balloon to the circle. Work carefully so the balloon does not pop.
Give the top of the sombrero more shape with newspaper. Lay two or three large pieces of newspaper over the tied end of the balloon. Carefully scrunch the newspaper down to cover the balloon in a single layer of paper and secure it to the circle with masking tape. As you scrunch, wrap a piece of masking tape around the entire balloon close to where it contacts the circle. This adds shape to your sombrero.
Use the 2" strips of paper mache to cover the entire sombrero in paper mache mixture. Dip the strips in the mixture one at a time, pulling them between your fingers loosely so that excess mixture falls back into the bowl. Layer the strips at least two thick, over the entire sombrero shape. Do not forget the bottom of the sombrero.
Add an extra layer or two of paper mache strips to the edge of the circle. While it is still wet, pinch and curl up the edge of the circle to form more of a hat brim shape. Let the sombrero dry completely.
Once completely dry, cut a small hole, approximately 2" wide, in the bottom of the sombrero and pop the balloon. Save the circle that you cut out. Fill the sombrero with desired treats, confetti or toys. Tape the circle you cut out securely back in place with layers of masking tape when finished. Attach a loop of string to the top of your sombrero securely with masking tape.
Paint your sombrero with bright acrylic paints. Use one or more colours. Create a design or paint in solid colours. Allow the paint to dry completely. Once dry, the sombrero piñata is ready to hang.
To cover the bottom of the sombrero with paper mache strips, turn the sombrero upside down in a bowl to hold it steady while you cover the bottom. If you do not wish to paint your sombrero, cover it with brightly coloured strips of tissue paper that you attach with a paintbrush dipped in a mixture of half-white school glue and half water.